The Hurricane Tapes

The Hurricane Tapes is an investigative podcast from the BBC World Service, written and produced by reporters Steve Crossman and Joel Hammer.

In June 1966 two men walked into a New Jersey Bar before shooting four people, killing three of them. A successful American boxer, Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, was convicted of the crime alongside a teenage high school track star named John Artis.

The case was made famous by Bob Dylan’s protest song ‘Hurricane’, which was written by Dylan after he visited Rubin in prison and offered to put his name to the boxer’s cause. Plus, in 2000 Denzel Washington starred in a movie about Carter’s long journey from conviction to exoneration (at least in the court of public opinion).

Carter and Artis had their convictions quashed in 1985, but nobody has ever looked into what really happened that summer night in Paterson, New Jersey. Could it be that the cops had the right men all along? Or did they focus solely on Carter and Artis, letting the real culprits escape justice?

Crossman and Hammer have unearthed 40 hours of cassette tapes that Rubin Carter made before he died in 2014 and they’ve spent 18 months meeting almost everyone who has had any involvement in this case.

Together, the two BBC journalists shed new light on the events of June 17th 1966 at the Lafayette Bar and Grill.

Racism, corruption and murder, The Hurricane Tapes is a story of civil rights era America written to the soundtrack of one of the most famous folk songs in history. Steve and Joel will discuss the process behind making the podcast and their experiences while doing their investigations in this special event at Moseley Folk & Arts.